How Long Will Woody Barrett Wait For His Shot?
photo: Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports
Fans were excited when he committed to Auburn. He came to the Plains as a dual-threat quarterback with a strong arm. Some even compared his style of play to Cam Newton. After all Woody Barrett had the size (6’-2”, 240 lbs) and the stats to draw that kind of attention. He certainly fits the quarterback model that has worked best in the Gus Malzahn type offense.
While in high school in Winter Garden, Florida he threw for 2,018 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for 1,413 yards and 23 TD’s while leading his team to the Florida Class 8A state semifinals. In addition to lettering in three sports, he was Class 8A All-State Quarterback, a Mr. Football finalist, Academy Athlete of the Year , the Florida Dairy Farmers 8A Player of the Year, a top-10 QB prospect by 247 Sports and ESPN, Rivals top 40 in Florida, PrepStar 350, and played in the Under Armour All-America Game.
He missed spring camp his first season, arriving on campus in the summer before the 2016 season. That put him behind presumed starter Sean White and backup Jeremy Johnson. With JUCO transfer John Franklin III added to the mix, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee decided to redshirt the talented freshman.
However when White went down with an injury and neither Johnson nor Franklin could move the ball against a suspect Georgia defense, many, including this writer, were puzzled that Barrett didn’t get an opportunity to see what he could do. To put him in the game would have meant burning his redshirt for a couple of first downs, but it could also have meant a probable victory in the south’s oldest rivalry game. It didn’t happen, so we will never know.
But one thing we do know is he has one of the most important traits for a quarterback—confidence in his ability. Running back Kerryon Johnson spoke to that during spring practice, “Woody literally believes he will score every play. To a point, that’s what you got to love. I’m no quarterbacks coach, but I think he has one of the strongest arms in the group. He’s got a cannon. He believes in his arm. He believes he can make those type throws. He’s done that here and there. I think he’s got a good chance to be very good.”
Since fans read those kind of testimonials to Barrett’s ability, many were looking forward to watching him on A-Day. However, he only got six reps in the first half and none in the second. It was understandable that Jarrett Stidham and Malik Willis would get most of the attention, but only six reps with Sean White still recovering from injury? Could this be the handwriting on the wall for Woody Barrett?
I heard new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, speaking at the West Georgia Auburn Club Tuesday evening, respond to why Barrett didn’t see the field more on A-Day. “I wanted to see Malik get some reps,” said Lindsey. “Woody got a few reps in the first half, and in the second half Jarrett was out, and I wanted to make sure Malik got a lot of reps.”
That can’t sound too reassuring for Barrett especially with a healthy Sean White returning to the competition this fall.
There’s still summer camp coming on but at present Woody looks like the number-4 quarterback. You have to wonder if a four-star recruit with his type of résumé will be willing to sit buried on the depth chart for another year, or two, or … three?